Muslims are terrorists, pedophiles, fundamentalists and the true oppressors of women. This was what I thought for most of my life. As I grew up I learned that this could not be true for all of them but it had to be so for most of them. In my mind they needed my love in order to be converted to Christianity (Seventh-Day Adventism to be exact) the only true religion. So I started on a quest in hopes that if I helped my Muslim friends and acquaintances find Jesus that I would too. I was very wrong.
The more I learned about the Islam the more I wanted to know. I wanted to understand how I, Urisha an intelligent black woman could not know all of this information. I started to understand that the media helped me out. When it wasn't Geert Wilders a Dutch politician on the TV calling for less Moroccans in the Netherlands, it was ISIS. When ISIS had enough it was some closeted Muslim homosexual shooting up a gay club. The news did not cover the fact that Turkey an Islamic country has been a constant target for terrorists. They did not cover the stories about the Muslims around the world not only praying for people in Syria but also donating their money and time. The truth is rarely told.
While child marriage is a serious problem in the world it is not a norm in the Islam rather the Quran states that children should be married when old enough. "More than half of the girls in Bangladesh, Mali, Mozambique and Niger are married before age 18. In these same countries, more than 75 percent of people live on less than $2 a day." (International Center for Research on Women, 2016) In the western world we have more than enough, we are the more "civilized" yet we allow these horrors to continue. We who know better profit from countries with nothing while never thinking about the products of poverty. Child brides (and grooms) are not an Islamic problem. It is our problem and it continues only because we allow poverty to continue.
On the topic of female oppression it is everyone's fault. In 2015 the Seventh-Day Adventist organization broke my heart by voting against the ordination of female pastors. The Catholic church has no priestesses and in the nonreligious world we are still waiting for equal rights and pay. There is more than enough blame to be passed around in every part of the world.
In January a class was formed at school and suddenly I met a lot of Muslims from all walks of life. As I spent more time with the young women of my class I learned more than I ever thought I could. I met a young Moroccan who wears her hijab with pride as well as her nationality. I learned why one girl chose not to wear a hijab yet she is one of the most devout, kind-hearted and gentle spirits I've ever met. In my quest to find truth I uncovered the horror of what it is like to be black and Muslim. Yet a Somalian young woman chooses to brave the storm or racism, gender discrimination and religious persecution on a daily basis. I met a Kurdish woman who decided to not just understand her religion but that of everyone else. Never did I feel as if sharing my religion made me less. Never did I feel closer to people in the Netherlands than I did with them.
|A black Muslima in the western world is one of the strongest women you will ever find.|
There is a discussion in the Muslim world about the true meaning of the word Iqra. Some say it means to read but also recite, I am fine with it being both. Read and understand so that you can recite and teach. This is something that we all need to adopt because there can be no more ignorance in the world. The world is to small and the internet far to large, we have no excuse so close this window and learn. Iqra.